Buzz Aldrin responds to plan to collect his faeces from the moon

The bags could be a hint at how life survives in space

Andrew Griffin@_andrew_griffin
Wednesday 03 April 2019 17:08
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Footage from the 1969 moon landing Apollo 11 mission

Buzz Aldrin has responded to the suggestion that someone should go to the Moon and pick up the faeces he left there.

When Aldrin and the other Apollo astronauts landed on the Moon, they left behind a host of honourable and iconic things: Neil Armstrong's footstep, and an American flag, which still wait there to this day.

But they were also forced to leave behind less noble things, too. Also waiting there are bags of human faeces, dumped waste generated as astronauts carried out their mission.

That led journalist Brian Resnick to suggest that humanity needs to go back and pick up those bags, and bring them back down to Earth. His suggestion came as the US government told Nasa it needs to send people back to the Moon within five years.

He argued the bags represent an unparallelled look at how life might be able to survive in space. Human faeces is full of life, including the bacteria that makes up roughly 50 per cent of that mass.

Scientists would be able to explore whether any of that life survived in the harsh environment of the Moon, in an attempt to understand how it would survive. As such, those toilet bags are life subjected to probably the most intense conditions known to man, and a major if accidental experiment.

Resnick had speculated that Aldrin's waste could be in one of those bags, waiting. But he said it wasn't clear whether any of the Apollo 11 astronauts had left any there, and that Aldrin had declined to comment on the story.

But he has now responded to the suggestion, and did not rule it out – but expressed his sympathy for the astronauts who will be heading there to find it.

"Well, I sure feel bad for whoever finds my bag," he wrote, as well as the poo emoji.

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